AskDefine | Define luminary

Dictionary Definition

luminary n : a celebrity who is an inspiration to others; "he was host to a large gathering of luminaries" [syn: leading light, guiding light, notable, notability]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. one that is an inspiration to others : one who has achieved success in his chosen field : a leading light
    played host to a huge gathering of international luminaries -- Edmund Stevens
  2. an artificial light : an illumination
  3. a body that gives light; especially : one of the heavenly bodies

Related terms

Extensive Definition

The luminaries were what traditional astrologers called the two astrological "planets" which were the brightest and most important objects in the heavens, that is,
The Sun and Moon were well-established rulers of the other planets, in accordance with the ancient doctrine of astrology of sect, which made the Sun the ruler of charts of events and individuals born in the daytime, when the Sun was over the horizon; and the Moon the ruler of night charts, when the Sun was below the horizon.
Ancient astrologers divided all astrological factors into day and night groups: essential dignities, Arabian Parts (or "Lots") and all planetary characteristics. Even each of the Starry planets themselves "belonged" to one luminary or the other. The luminary "in charge" of any given chart was called the luminary of sect. (See sect.)
The luminaries can be found in the story of creation in the Bible:
''And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.'' (Genesis 1:16-18, King James Version)
In modern Western astrology, the importance of the Moon and the Sun has even come to outweigh all the other celestial factors in the interpretation of chart data. In Hindu astrology, the Moon (and the Ascendant) have that distinction.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

VIP, actinic, big, big name, big-timer, candle, catoptric, celebrity, chief, constellation, cynosure, electric light bulb, electronics king, eminence, figure, fire, first-rater, flame, folk hero, galaxy, genius, glim, great man, heliographic, heliological, hero, heroine, honcho, idol, illuminant, illuminator, immortal, important person, incandescent body, king, lamp, lantern, lead, leader, leading light, light, light bulb, light source, lion, luminal, luminant, luminaries, man of mark, master spirit, match, moon, nabob, name, notability, notable, paramount, person of note, personage, photic, photoactinic, photologic, pleiad, pop hero, popular hero, popular idol, prima donna, principal, prodigy, public figure, social lion, somebody, source of light, star, stars, sun, superstar, taper, top dog, topnotcher, torch, virtuoso, wonder, worthy
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